In those first months of sleep deprivation (and with Ryan having his days and nights confused there were weeks where the sleep deprivation was severe), I kept thinking "this can't last forever. Surely, they'll be sleeping more by the time they are a year." And so I held on (note: they were sleeping more by the time they were 3 months! But those first months felt really long!).
By a year they would be more interactive, they would be more mobile, they would be more communicative. By a year they could eat more, and play more, and do more. By a year I might have this mom thing figured out (note: I always thought I would be a fantastic mom, that I knew things other new moms didn't know, that I knew all the tricks, that I knew exactly what I should and shouldn't do - and that I would always do, or not do, those things. Motherhood has been the most humbling experience of my life. Thank God for giving me children to show me how much I don't know). In those early days I longed for their first birthday.
And then somehow everything turned around and I dreaded it. The first birthday meant a farewell to babyhood and a hello to toddlerdom. It meant that the days of sitting in a rocking chair, cuddling a contentedly motionless baby would give way to chasing two toddlers and temper tantrums. It somehow seemed the defining moment that would force me to admit that my babies are going to grow up. Toddlers will turn into children, who will turn into teenagers, who will turn into young adults, who will turn into adults...and if this year went so fast, those will too. As their first birthday approached I wanted so much to hold onto the baby days, but felt I was already catching a glimpse of them waving goodbye as we dropped them off at college. The day was both exciting (we made it!!), and sad at the same time. Although, I worked really hard to just focus on the exciting.
We scheduled their party for a later date (to give us a little more time to settle in), but I wanted to do something special as a family. If we would have been in MA, I knew exactly what we would have done. We would have either gone to the aquarium (since they had an "Under the Sea" themed birthday this seemed appropriate. Plus, they really liked looking at the fish tank at the doctor's office...) or to Jordan's. It took a while but I found the perfect location here!
Cabela's! We decided that it was the Midwest's equivalent of Jordan's in that it was "shoppertainment." It had both shopping and things to entertain. PLUS, it has an aquarium! We started the trip at the aquarium.
(the white blobs at the bottom of the picture are albino catfish - Allie loved them!)
The babies enjoyed peeking through at the fish, but also tired of it quickly (thank goodness we hadn't spent all that money going to the aquarium in MA!). Then we traveled around to look at some of the exhibits.
We stopped and ate lunch at the cafe,
finished our trip around the store to see all the animals,
and then spent some time playing at the gift shop.
It was a gorgeous day, and later that afternoon we decided to make our first trip to the nearby playground. One of the most exciting things about our location is that there are 3 playgrounds around the lake, but one of them is about a half mile away. Even better, it is about a quarter mile from the church (imagine picnic lunches with Lucas, or walking there to meet him and then walking home together - idyllic, right?). We put the babies in the swings (for the first time since December), and they had a blast!
We topped the birthday festivities off with their first taste of Lucas' homemade pizza. Unfortunately, it has to be without cheese because of the dairy allergy - which makes it much less appealing. Fortunately, I recently found a health food store that stocks soy cheese, so next time they can have cheese on their pizza!
Our family celebration of their birthday was perfect. Lucas and I made sure to take some time to congratulate ourselves on a first year well done. And then we began preparations for the Party!